Across the Ditch

Mr Gerard Kelly, 5th Dan

A report on Australian Taekwon-Do by Gerard Kelly V Dan

Welcome, by all means welcome, to the first ever issue of “Across the ditch”. Every edition of TKD Talk will feature this article, highlighting the Australian Taekwon-Do scene and its people.

2018 World Cup

We will begin our journey together by letting you know that Master Michael Daher 8th Degree Black Belt and his team are working feverishly to get the 2018 world cup ready. It is shaping up to be a fantastic event and we are certain that everyone will be suitably impressed with the venue and accommodation.

2017 National Championships

ITF Taekwon-Do Australia is hosting the National Championships in Sydney on the 5th and 6th of August 2017. With close to 200 competitors, it is going to be a great event. Competitors are flying in from all over the country to take part in the nationals, hoping to bring home the win for their respective clubs. Stay tuned for the report after the Nationals have finished.

Practitioner Profile

Master El-Sheikh

Each issue we will do a profile on an Australian Taekwon-Do Practitioner. For this article, I have chosen Australia’s newest Master, Master Moustapha Omar El-Sheikh.

Gerard: Master El-Sheikh, thank you for taking the time to talk to me.

Master El-Sheik: You’re welcome Gerard, honoured you thought of me as part of your first write up for TKD Talk, congratulations on your appointment as Australia’s Contributor to this esteemed magazine.

Gerard: Thank you sir, could you please tell our readers when you began training?

Master El-Sheik: I began training in 1983 at the age of 9 years old.

Gerard: Who was your inspiration in those early years?

Master El-Sheik: My biggest inspiration in the Martial Arts as a child in my early foundation and developmental years was Bruce Lee.

Gerard: What has been your most memorable moment in your TKD career?

Master El-Sheik: My proudest moment in my TKD career would have to be the acknowledgement and recognition by the Founder General Choi Hong Hi during all the seminars I attended and in particular the last one in Joho Bahru Malaysia 2000 where the General asked for performers to do various patterns and at my conclusion he asked me how many seminars I have attended under him and who my instructor was and then sat me down each time I performed with no corrections. Another memorable time was having Lunch with him in Sydney at the conclusion of his Australia Tour in 1993 where the General asked me my age and rank at the time 19 and 2nd degree he stated then that I would have a big future in ITF these words from our Founder are engraved within me and are more cherished than being Oceania’s first World Championships Medallist back in 1992 in Pyongyang North Korea at the 8th ITF World Champs.

Gerard:  That was a pivotal moment in Australia’s Taekwon-Do journey sir, It showed us all that we, as Australians could compete on the international stage, not just as a number filler, but as a real threat to the competition.Now that you have achieved the rank of Master, what are your goals moving forwards?

Master El-Sheik

Master El-Sheik: My goal as a Master is simply to serve and give back to my art and peers as it has given to me. The rank of Master is an achievement of dedication and disciplined training which totally refocuses the Masters destiny in the total service of the art, its protection and propagation above the interests of the individual. He becomes a torch and light of the art, and must humbly serve and guide the new generation to even greater heights of skill and education, which will eventually surpass his own skill, thus ensuring the arts longevity and evolution. Then is he truly a Master. Anybody can wear a belt, special stripes but only a true Master serves above his interests in the cause of his art.

Gerard: Very true sir.  Which aspect of Taekwon-Do do you enjoy the most?

Master El-Sheik: The best aspect of Taekwon-do for me would be the greater ITF Family and friendships which enrich our lives through the art where we meet many people from all walks of life across the world with our common bond of Taekwon-do training as developed by our Taekwon-do Father General Choi Hong Hi we are but one family with many relatives across the globe. You and I are but one example of friendships I have gained through TKD my friend.


Gerard: The feeling is mutual Master El-Sheikh. What is your favourite Taekwon-Do technique?

Master El-Sheik: My favourite techniques are many and all as a martial art with deadly techniques to ultimately save your life if needed but if I were to choose one I would say Flying Back Piercing Kick.

Gerard: That’s one of mine as well sir! Well that’s all we have time for sir! Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me!

Master El-Sheik: You are most welcome Gerard, if you need anything else please let me know and I look forward to seeing you once again at the National Championships in Sydney.

Ok, so that is it for the first issue of “Across the ditch” Looking forward to seeing you all at the 2017 World championships in Ireland! This will be my first world champs as an umpire, so I am very excited!

Take care.


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